4 June 2012 0 Comments

Liberty Index Part 14: Key Votes – Act 16 of 2012 – Keystone Opportunity Zone

Act 16 of 2012   Feb 14  2012    SB 1237  Keystone Opportunity Zone and Shell Cracker Facility

TIER 3   AGAINST LIBERTY   This was a near UNANIMOUS VOTE, only Sen. John Eichelberger voted “Nay” in the General Assembly and there appear to be valid reasons for a “yea” or “nay” vote. ALL MEMBERS will have 50 points subtracted from the grade.. Politicizing economic decisions corrupts both politics and business.

Senate Bill 1237 (Act 16 of 2012) – legislation to add new Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ), tax free areas designed to promote economic development;  HOUSE FISCAL NOTE describes Act in detail . SB 1237 appears to be special legislation to benefit one company and one project. Is Corporate Welfare for Shell Cracker Good for PA? Commonwealth Foundation March 19, 2012 by Elizabeth Stelle  “Astute readers may remember that last month Pennsylvania earned the dubious distinction of the highest taxes for mature businesses and the second highest taxes for new businesses. So how did Pennsylvania just beat out Ohio and West Virginia for the Shell Oil Co. cracker plant that is estimated to create more than 10,000 construction and 10,000 permanent jobs?

The Post Gazette has the answer, “Gov. Tom Corbett and his closest advisers spent months wooing the company.”  In other words, corporate welfare.  Pennsylvania’s corporate taxes are so awful that the Corbett administration had to wine and dine company officials and hand over special tax exemptions and subsidies to seal the deal.”

The concept of Keystone Opportunity Zones is that lower taxes promote productive growth. KOZs are problematic in that it is difficult to measure whether the intended purpose has been achieved.


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